PE4KH Amateur radio - Koos van den Hout

Most recent QSO's for PE4KH

Callsign Band Mode Locator RST(R) RST(S) Satellite
TA5FA20MFT8KM76-15-22
UT4RZ20MRTTY599599
UT8EL20MRTTYKN67ru599599
EC5T20MRTTYIM98sr599599
TA4PR20MRTTYKM37vu599599
TA1BX20MRTTYKN41599599
RK3PWR20MRTTYKO94ao599599
UC6A20MRTTYKN84pv599599
IK8UND20MRTTYJN71cg599599
EA2A20MRTTYIN92td599599
LZ2YO20MRTTYKN13us599599
TK5MH20MRTTYJN41ix599599
EA1ACP20MRTTYIN81qt599599
EF1A20MRTTYIN53vk599599
EA7LL20MRTTYIM76nm599599

I passed my novice radio amateur exam in March 2013 and I registered the callsign PD4KH (pappa delta four kilo hotel!). I passed my full radio amateur exam in March 2016 and I registered the callsign PE4KH (pappa echo four kilo hotel!).
PE4KH on qrz.com

I am usually located around maidenhead locator: JO22NC

The 'hamradio' items from my homepage

2019-11-17 Pointing the Arrow antenna at SO-50 again
HF propagation has been really bad the last weeks. At least on the moments I had time to look at the radio. The maximum usable frequency was dropping below 14 MHz as soon as it started getting dark. This means that I can only make contacts on the lowest band (40 meters) with the endfed antenna set up outside and the experience from earlier weekends was that it was still a lot of work to get contacts on FT8.

So this weekend I did some 2 meter FT8 and made contacts with some new call signs. I was lucky: the 2 meter interference stopped after dark. My computer decoded one Danish callsign but I wasn't near it at that moment.

And I tried a pass of the SO-50 satellite. A pure southwest-northeast pas was coming up at the start of the evening, so I planned to be outside in the cold with antenna and handheld radio. I was hoping to get some country to the south of me in the log, but I ended up with a southeasterly contact: Croatia. I heard 9A2EY in a contact so I called him and made the contact.

2019-11-16 Getting distracted by weird noises and listening to data from car tires
I was tuning across the 70cm amateur band and heard lots of weird noises around 433.92 MHz. Which is logical: that's the ISM band (industrial, scientific and medical) so lots of unlicensed low-power signals there.

That triggered me to update rtl_433 and see what I could receive. The answer after some searching how to build a running version: a lot. Including tire pressure monitoring sensors (TPMS) on a nearby car:

time      : 2019-11-16 15:33:25
model     : Toyota       type      : TPMS          id        : fb8c8bf9
status    : 128          pressure_PSI: 38.500      temperature_C: 6.000
mic       : CRC
There is indeed a Toyota parked across the street. I see three different values for 'id' suggesting that three wheels are 'awake' and reporting tire pressure data about every two minutes. According to eavesdropping the wheels, a close look at TPMS signals the sensors should only activate when the car is going faster than 40 km/h or when a special LF signal is active.

2019-11-13 More investment in remote HF operation
So the order for the remoterig duo to work on my remote HF operation plans is out the door. I ordered them with HamShop to get Dutch warranty rules.

I also ordered some other stuff from Conrad to be able to get everything cabled correctly. I may have missed something but I hope to have enough to get going and be able to have frontpanel and main radio hardware separated by Internet.

2019-11-06 Tested and attached wires to the new 12V powersupply
Powersupply with wires attached
Powersupply with wires attached
I had time to do some soldering and I tested and wired the 12V server powersupply I bought last Saturday at the "Dag van de Radioamateur" ham convention.

The powersupply that I bought is an HP DPS-800GB A and it already had two wires to make it start up when input voltage is applied. I just soldered thick wires to the output terminals so I can connect it to the HF amplifier. Unlike the previous HP DPS-700 powersupply this one has two builtin fans so it won't overheat.

Time to test it with the HF amplifier is this weekend. I'll test the output power with the current output voltage left as-is. It's currently at 12.2 Volt when no load is applied. There are simple modifications to raise the voltage as described by Server supply DPS-800GB - PA0FRI.

Update: After some testing it's clear there are two problems: the output voltage of this power supply does not get very high before it switches off. About 13 volts. At that voltage the output power of the HF amplifier is limited. And when using the external amplifier I had a lot of problem with the connection between the computer and the radio. As soon as I started transmitting the computer started giving error messages about the communication with the radio.

So back to just the radio and its output power at the moment.

2019-11-02 I visited the "Dag van de radio amateur" (DvdRA) ham convention
Today was the Dag voor de Radioamateur edition 2019, and I went there.

My main todo item was to deliver outgoing qsl cards to the Dutch QSL bureau and pick up the new ones for Region 08. So I walked in with a big shopping bag and after visiting the Dutch QSL bureau market stall I returned to the car right away with a new box full of cards. After that I walked in again and started looking around. I was looking for certain parts I needed recently such as RCA connectors, 2.5 mm stereo jack connectors. I also had some specific things in mind such as a newer high amperage 12V supply because the previous server power supply smoked itself and an antennaswitch and serial connectors for remote HF operation which I found. I found no USBaudio and USBserial interfaces so those will be picked up in the next electronics web order.

I attended a lecture on the QO-100 amateur satellite and the story behind the Patch of the Year antenna co-developed by Remco PA3FYM.

I also met a lot of amateur radio friends, more than I expected!

2019-10-14 Sharing some of my CQRLOG scripts
Since January 2015 I've been using CQRLOG as the main amateur radio logging program. So each contact that I make ends up in the databases of this program eventually.

Being the person I am I added some scripts of my own to export data from CQRLOG to the PE4KH amateur radio station website in several formats.

I've made a few of these scripts available for the public via KHoos/CQRLOG-scripts: A collection of scripts around the CQRLOG amateur radio logging software on github. I've set the license to GPLv2, but I may have to change this as one script contains a lot of imported code.

Anyway, share and enjoy. Maybe these are of use to someone. Or someone adds the enhancements I've been thinking about but never got around to.


2019-10-06 A new HF radio, with plans for remote operation
The last years I've been dealing with increasing levels of interference on the HF bands at home. One clear source is the rising numbers of solar panel installations, with a clear difference between hiring the cheapest installer versus hiring a good installer but paying more.

I don't want to start discussions with all neighbours about their solar installation and the latest news seems to be that the Dutch telecoms regulator takes the stance of solar panels being needed for our economy so radio amateurs have to accept the interference.

Moving house is not in our plans for the coming years so I started reading about the options for remote operations, where I can sit at home with the microphone and morse key looking at the display of the radio and hearing the audio while the receiving/sending part is at a remote site with a lot less interference.

I found out about RemoteRig which does just that, and with the right choice of radio allows complete remote operation over the Internet. With their offering I started looking at compatible HF radios and found a nice secondhand Kenwood TS-480SAT. This radio has better filtering options for SSB and morse than my Yaesu FT-857D.

The radio is now at home and I made the first few SSB contacts with it. The filtering already helped me understand stations better.

Now for the next steps, cables, remoterig units and other things. And a remote location. I have an offer from a fellow radio amateur to do the first tests at his house. When all that works out I'll go and find a nearby location to do the complete installation.

2019-09-22 First morse contact, trying FT4 for the first time and participating in the BARTG Sprint75 contest
This weekend is the BARTG Sprint75 RTTY contest. I set up my endfed antenna on Friday evening. On Friday I listened around the band for any morse special event stations and found LZ304EW active. The station was calling with a morse speed of about 21 words per minute and I answered my callsign with 12 words per minute. And no, I can't decode morse at 21 words per minute, I used the computer (fldigi) to help me decode the morse and the nanoKeyer to help me send my callsign and the 5nn TU 73 to finish the 'contact'. I felt secure enough in hearing my own callsign in morse to be able to do this.

Most of Saturday I made a number of FT8 contacts all over Europe. Nothing really exciting, just trying to get a number of new calls in the log. I think I saw some new gridsquares.

The planned amateur radio activity was the British Amateur Radio Teledata Group Sprint75 contest on Sunday evening (17:00 utc to 20:59 utc which is 19:00 - 22:59 local time). I set up the radio Sunday afternoon and listened on 14.080 MHz, which is the default frequency for RTTY on the 20 meter band for as far as I know. I saw different signals, which turned out to be FT4 signals, the relatively new mode in WSJT-X. It's been around for a while, I just never got around to playing with it.

So I started WSJT-X and tried FT4. I made three contacts, one with an amateur in England, one with 4S6NCH in Sri Lanka which is a new country for me, and one with an amateur in India, which was a new 20 meter country for me. Not bad for trying a mode for the first time.

After dinner it was time for the contest and that was a misery. I made 17 contacts in total, 4 on the 20 meter band and 13 on the 40 meter band. Propagation was not cooperating at all, mostly just giving noise and sometimes signals faded in and I had to work hard to get a contact.

Update: The bartg sprint75 rtty contest was a weekend earlier! Only when I tried to submit my results and the website told me all my contacts were outside of the contest timeframe I noticed my error. I guess some more radio amateurs had the wrong date as I have seen 'CQ BART SPRINT75' calls. And 75 baud RTTY mode is also rare. I notified the BARTG contest manageress to let her know. Not to complain since it was my error, but to make her aware of the problem.

2019-09-14 The nanoKeyer morse keyer in its case
The nanoKeyer morsekeyer in case with paddles
The nanoKeyer morsekeyer in case
I found help at the radio club, Kees PA5Z made his metalworking skills available and now the nanoKeyer has a nice case and works fine in it.

2019-09-06 The morse keyer is working with cqrlog
Next step was linking the morse keyer with the Linux radio logging and operating software cqrlog. A simple search gave me Nanokeyer with cqrlog - CQRLOG and indeed the suggested option 'WinKeyer USB' works. The option 'K3NG keyer' always stopped after a few characters of morse.

Now to get other software like fldigi and tlf working. And not have conflicts with both of them running.

Update: In the tlf manual I found a link to N0NB/winkeydaemon on github which works great too. I changed the default port /dev/ttyUSB0 to /dev/ttywinkey because USB0 is where my radio CAT control usually ends up, and two applications trying to use that serial port confuses the radio. The /dev/ttywinkey link is maintained by udev, with a rule in /etc/udev/rules.d/99-usb-serial.rules :
SUBSYSTEM=="tty", ATTRS{idVendor}=="1a86", ATTRS{idProduct}=="7523", SYMLINK+="ttywinkey"
I can't select on a serial number or anything more specific so devices with a QinHeng Electronics HL-340 USB-Serial adapter will probably all try to get a symlink to /dev/winkeyer.

I tested the result with cqrlog (selecting the cwdaemon option in cqrlog cw settings) and it works fine too. Next step will be to test with tlf.

Items before 2019-09-06
This page is created by Koos van den Hout, reachable via e-mail as my callsign @ idefix.net.
Other webprojects: Weatherstation Utrecht Overvecht, Camp Wireless, wireless Internet access at campsites The Virtual Bookcase book reviews
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